Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Night Before Christmas... my collection (obsession)

Bobbi, send me your email address so I can forward you the information you requested!

I have a serious problem. I can't resist a beautifully illustrated copy of The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. I open the cover and then get lost in the illustrations, all as varied as the individual artists who created them.

(click any photos to enlarge)
I've gotten some of my books on-line, some at used & new bookstores, and some at thrift & junktique stores. In this post I'll share some of my books, along with the illustrator's name and original copyright date (just in case you fall in love with a particular version and want to hunt down your own copy!) I'll just show you the covers first - then if you're interested in reading further, I'll include sample pages from each book so you get a feel for the beautiful pictures waiting to be discovered inside!

Beginning with the oldest:

"An Exact Reprint of an Early Edition," no copyright or illustrator listed.

Arthur Rackham version, copyright 1931

Eleanora Madsen, copyright 1940

Corinne Malvern, copyright 1949

Elizabeth Webbe, copyright 1950

Gyo Fujikawa, copyright 1961

Nino Carbe, copyright 1964

Tomie dePaola, copyright 1980
(one of my all time favorite children's book authors/illustrators who we got to meet at a booksigning last year... great memories of reading his books to my girls when they were little)

Greg & Tim Hilderbrandt, copyright 1981

Cyndy Szekeres, copyright 1982
(as you can see, I own a mini book, a softcover and a hardback of this version - it's too cute for words!!)

James Marshall, copyright 1985
(a favorite - I read lots of James Marshall books to my girls when they were little!)

Cheryl Harness, copyright 1989

James Rice, copyright 1989

John Steven Gurney, copyright 1989

Jane Chambless, copyright 1991

Christian Birmingham, copyright 1995

Bruce Whatley, copyright 1999

Matt Tavares, copyright 2002

Susann Ferris Jones, copyright 2005 (written by Henry Beard, created by John Boswell)
Normally I only purchase the Clement C. Moore version of The Night Before Christmas, but I couldn't resist the illustrations in this one!

Tom Newsom, copyright 2008

Okay, now that I've shared the covers of these beautiful books, I'll let you take a peek inside to see the magic that these artists have created while bringing this poem to life! Again, starting with the earliest and working our way forward:

From "An Exact Reprint of An Early Edition":

From the 1931 Arthur Rackham version:

From the Eleanora Madsen 1940 version:

From the 1949 Corinne Malvern version:

From the 1950 Elizabeth Webbe version:

From the 1960 Gyo Fujikawa version:

From the 1964 Nino Carbe version:

From the 1980 Tomie dePaola version:

From the 1981 Greg & Tim Hilderbrandt version:

From the 1982 Cyndy Szekeres version:

From the 1985 James Marshall version:

From the 1989 Cheryl Harness version:
The amount of detail in this version is incredible!

From the 1989 James Rice version:

From the 1989 John Steven Gurney version:

From the 1991 Jane Chambless version:

From the 1995 Christian Birmingham version:

From the 1999 Bruce Whatley version:

From the 2002 Matt Tavares version:

From the 2005 Cat's Night Before Christmas version:

From the 2008 Tom Newsom version:

So that concludes this year's installment of my collection!!
If you're not all "Twas the night before Christmas'd" out, I shared even more of my collection last December in this post (now you can see why I called it my obsession!!)

Reading this poem has been a part of our Christmas Eve's since the girls were babies. First with me reading it to them, and then as they got older, all of us taking turns reading it. And as the girls have grown, so has my collection! So if you're in the market for a copy of this book, I hope you spotted a version that really spoke to you!!

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"



Tammy/Yesterday's Cottage said...

What a wonderful collection! I just love the old children's book illustrations. I have a Night Before Christmas that I got as a child with Grandma Moses' artwork -the cover is kitten chewed (he was aptly named Rascal!) but I still put it out year after year. If I didn't love it so much, I'd be absolutely embarrassed to do so! LOL!
A very Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Donna!

Great collection! Isn't it incredible how many wonderful illustrators have shown their version of what the same story tells? Thanks for sharing such a
great treasure.

Merry Christmas, Sherry

Susan said...

Ohhhhh, beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing, Donna. And a blessed Christmas to you and all your family. Sincerely, Susan from

J.G. said...

These are amazing! I can see how you have become addicted to these--each artist has put so much love and care into every picture. (They almost always have a cat in them, too.)

I have a Grandma Moses version, originally published in 1949 (my copy is from 1961). If you don't already have it, keep an eye out!

J.G. said...

P.S. Wishing you and yours a happy, happy Christmas!

Claudia said...

Donna, your collection is so wonderful. I am always amazed at what illustrators can do. Each brings his/her own vision and the result is magical!

Enjoy your Christmas Eve reading of this classic, my friend. I am so happy we have become friends through blogging. My love and good wishes for a very Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family!

Merry Christmas!


Lisa said...

Oh I collect these too. But your collection is much better than mine!! Thanks for sharing.
Beautiful post!
Merry Christmas!
Hugs, Lisa

Kim said...

Wow...thanks for sharing all of those books with us! It truly is a wonderful story and I've read it a million times. I loved all your was great seeing all the various illustrations from over the years...brought back some wonderful memories. Have a very Merry Christmas!!


GwendolynKay said...

Wow! that is quite a collection! It is such a magical story isn't it? We all loved it so much as children. Wishing you and yours a very merry and blessed CHRISTMAS!

deb said...

What a wonderful collection!! So interesting to see each illustrators take on the story.
I did notice there were cats in alot of the books

Merry Christmas!!


Donna said...

Fabulous! Wow oh wow!

Merry Christmas!

Susan at Charm of the Carolines said...

Wow! Thanks for the memories. I used to have several of those versions. My Mom still does.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Susan at Charm of the Carolines

Cottage Rose said...

Hello Donna; Wow! I had on idea that there was so many copies made of the story..... you do have a great collection of them... I love that story.... Merry Christmas


Anonymous said...

Hi Donna! Wow, what a collection:) Just wanted 2 wish u and yours HAPPY HOLIDAYS;)

A New England Life said...

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas Donna!

One of my favorite,and only Christmas books as a child, was the one with Santa Mouse. It still holds a soft spot in my heart.

Well, the girls are up so it's time to open gifts. Have a great day with your girls!


Esther said...

What a fantastic collection. I collect Christmas books, but not specific ones. Your's have so many beautiful illustrations.
I love Tomie de Paola too and one of my favourite Christmas books is his "The Country Angels Christmas". Beautiful illustrations.

Elaine said...

What an adorable collection! That kitty version is so cute.

I looked at your last year's post and I think my favorite version is the one with Jan Brett's illustrations.

What a wonderful tradition and obsession you have.

NnN said...

What a great collection!!! I have a Rackham illustrated version too! It is a treasured gift from a friend. Now I am thinking that this collection is a fun one to start.....hope your Christmas was wonderful! Rosie

Anonymous said...

Beautiful artwork on each and every one of the book covers as well as inside.... such a lovely thing to collect!

The Blue Ridge Gal

Susie said...

Dear Donna - love your collection...when my son was very small we had a tradition in our house of reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve just before bedtime whilst putting out a glass of sherry and mince pie for Santa - this brings back all those lovely memories, thank you! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, warm wishes Susie x

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Hi Donna~ ~ Hope your Christmas was Merry. Thanks for sharing love the illustrations in all the books but I had the 1950 version as a kid. What fun to see them all.

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Oh this is a wonderful collection! I love all of the vintage pictures. I have a couple of the same books, but your collection is incredible! I'm so sorry about your Christmas Eve panic, but I'm glad everything is going to be ok. I would have had a panic attack too. I just started backing up the work on my office computer last week, but I'm not anywhere close to getting it all backed up! Hope you had a great Christmas. laurie

Kristen Rettig said...

What a lovely collection! I miss reading this story to my children, all grown up now. Next time my granddaugter comes to visit, I'll have to read it to her, even if it's Easter! What a pretty blog, I'm glad I happened upon you.

Anonymous said...

Just came upon your post and I have to say that I love your collection of books! I've stopped my collecting of Santas and Snowmen. And you have inspired me to start a new collection. Thank you, I just love this idea!

Unknown said...

Spectacular collection! I found this searching for the book my parents read to me as a child. It was a "pop-up" style book where you could pull tabs (for the man to throw up the shutter) and even one that made Santa's mustache twitch. Almost every page had something movable with a tab of some sort. I CAN'T FIND IT! Since you are clearly and officianado of this genre, have you ever seen the book I am talking about? If so, do you know the illustrator's name etc so I may find and potentially buy it? I can see it so clearly in my mind and want it tangable for me and now my young children. Thanks for any leads. And for sharing your beautiful array of such a wonderfully told story.

carol rauch said...

I just found one that you have here -- among a pile of old sheet music! The one that is an "exact replica" of the original. I've learned it was printed in 1970. I'd be happy to sell it!

It is indeed a charming collection.


Conchetta said...

Your collection is lovely. I am trying to search down the version that my mother received as a child...does the 1950 version (the one Elizabeth Webbe illustrated) have a pink hardback cover? Thank you!

sugardaisy said...

Hi Donna:

Thanks for sharing your amazing collection. I linked to it from my own blog as part of the December feature on Christmas books. I don't have tons of traffic, but it is nice to be able to share with my family. here is a link...

merry christmas!